Danny Cavanagh: “The system of long-term care in our province is, for the most part, a private for-profit system and that must end. I think it’s fair to say that the residents and staff in long-term feel neglected, based on their treatment and working conditions.”

Without a doubt one of the most inspiring stories to emerge from the pandemic is how the Preston communities mobilized to protect residents from infection. I spoke with Dr. David Haase, Sharon Davis-Murdoch and Archie Beals, three people who are closely involved, about this and other community initiatives, the role of the government, tomorrow’s town hall on the vaccine, and related matters. Casting a shadow on the entire conversation: what is the role of systemic racism in all this?

Danny Cavanagh on the need for decent pay. “People don’t often think about the cogs in the wheel as long as it is turning. Never much thought to the countless people behind the scenes in hospitals, nursing homes, long term care facilities – those providing home support. Every day they quietly worked along even though by doing so they put themselves in danger of getting Covid-19. We often think about the nurses, doctors and specialists, but not a lot about the cleaners, cooks, food service workers, the people keeping the buildings working, the paperwork flowing and all those behind the scenes keeping the wheels moving.”

A profile of the venerable Elizabeth Fry Society of Mainland Nova Scotia. “Although providing this support has been challenging with COVID restrictions, E Fry’s staff never gives up: “We can’t put things on pause- we have to keep going. Holly House remained open – even expanded. We are one of the only places that take recently-released women [from incarceration], there is nowhere for them to go.”

Ray Bates on COVID-19 lessons learned. “The first is the importance of an adequate health care system for all. The existing inadequacies and inequalities that have been jarringly exposed because of COVID-19 must be corrected and replaced with services that will enable us to defeat this pandemic and also to be ready for the next one when it rears its deadly head.”